Continental Tires' continuous research on dandelion based tires has garnered another award for ecological sustainability. Scientists Prof. Dirk Prüfer and Dr. Christian Schulze Gronover of IME and Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology and Dr. Carla Recker of Continental received the Joseph von Fraunhofer Award for their efforts.
"The objective of this joint project is to develop a procedure for the industrial use of dandelion as a source of rubber. In agricultural terms, it is an undemanding plant, even in the northern hemisphere, and can be cultivated on land not suitable for food production. This means that rubber production is conceivable near our tire factories, for instance, and the significantly shorter transport routes would also reduce CO2 emissions," said Dr. Recker.
The scientists from IME and Continental have made headway in dandelion tire research. According to Dr. Recker, they have found genes in dandelions that promotes latex production and have eliminated genes that hinder it. The company has been testing out the dandelion based rubber for almost a year now. In its most recent test, Continental says the Taraxagum tires proved that alternative rubber can, in fact, face harsh conditions while not compromising grip and durability levels. The company says it aims to put dandelion rubber into its regular production tires within the next five to 10 years.
Since the project started, the Taraxagum tires has been awarded for innovation and sustainability. The revolutionary way of making tires was honored with the European “GreenTec Award”, an environmental and business prize, in the “Automobility” category in May 2014.